4 Savvy Ways to Plan Your Big Day without a Full-Service Wedding Planner
Thinking about forgoing a full-service wedding planner but still hoping to get some assistance or support? Check out these affordable resources and alternatives.
During the moments (and days and weeks) after you and your love get engaged, we hope you stay completely enveloped in the joy you’re feeling and experiencing. At some point, you will be ready to jump into the world of planning your wedding — and there will be tons of information and wedding professionals ready to greet you. One such pro who you might consider working with is a full-service wedding planner (they really are worth it!), but you will first need to decide on the type of service you feel will work best for both your day and your budget.
Do you need a full-service wedding planner?
Most wedding planners offer a complete variety of services and service levels, such as full service, partial, and month-of coordination. Full service is, of course, the most expensive option. It’s the most involved because a wedding planner will plan the entire celebration for you (think: sourcing professionals, attending all meetings, curating the details, running your wedding day, and much more). This level of planning is one many couples opt to skip due to the investment needed, but sometimes it can be hard to say no. So, if you’re wondering if there are savvy ways to plan your wedding if you have to opt-out of a full-service wedding planner, we’re here to show you the way!
Below, we’ve outlined four ways to plan your wedding that will use social media, technology, and more — they’re tools, skills, and even people you already have at your fingertips!
1. Use Social Media to Your Advantage
Social media can be a source of comparison, but when it’s used positively it can be a great tool and source of creativity!
Start with Pinterest. Once you have a rough idea of the month and season when you would like to get married, create a new Pinterest board. You can even make it private, so it’s not on display for others to view. Spend time pinning photos that you like, but don’t consider whether or not your ideas pair well together or even flow.
Give yourself a deadline when you need to stop pinning ideas. Once that date arrives, go through your Pinterest board and look for themes, like colors, textures, patterns, and details. They will be there! Once you spot them, start deleting other pictures and ideas that don’t follow the trends you’re seeing. After you complete this step, you will have uncovered your wedding style.
Instagram is another great tool, and one of the best ways to use it is to lean into geotags and hashtags. If you have a wedding venue in mind, search for the venue’s location (not their Instagram handle) on the app. Once you find it, click on it and scroll through the photos that appear. While some will have been posted by guests who have attended other weddings at the venue, a solid amount will be from wedding vendors who have worked at the location.
You can also search for your wedding venue or wedding city by using the hashtag devoted to it. For example, #RaleighWeddings has over 49,000 posts. As you find examples you love, open the post, and click on the flag icon below the picture on the right-hand side. The Instagram post will save to your “Saved” folder on the app for you to refer back to later!
2. Download Free or Affordable Wedding Planning Templates
As a way to share their knowledge and expertise with more people, some wedding professionals (especially wedding planners) create documents you can purchase. Typically, either option is very focused on specific aspects of planning a wedding. For example, this planner has a wedding budget spreadsheet, pocket timeline template, and more available for couples to purchase.
You can also check out sites like Etsy for downloadable wedding planning templates, timelines, checklists, and other resources to put your own plans in place.
3. Work with a Virtual Wedding Planner
If you’re overwhelmed by social media or you would simply feel better with a little guidance, some wedding planners offer a virtual wedding planning service. Depending on the planner, this can take on a few different forms.
One way to work with a virtual wedding planner is on the design of your wedding. Your planner will either ask to see the Pinterest board and a complete list of ideas you have in mind, or they will start from scratch to come up with a design plan. Typically, your virtual wedding planner will then review the aesthetic they see coming to life for your wedding with you. From there, you can take your design plan with you as you meet with your venue and floral designer, so you have a cohesive look everyone can follow.
Another way to work with a virtual wedding planner will make you feel like you’re working with an assistant. Through this type of service, a planner might still come up with a design plan for you; however, they will also be able to research and even contact vendors for you, create a timeline, and more. In the end, you will have a blueprint for your wedding day that you can then share with your team as you continue to build your ideal day on your own.
4. Purchase a Course or Become a Member
For a deeper dive into planning your own DIY wedding, check out online wedding planning courses that walk you through the process. Haven’t heard of an online wedding-planning course? Check out a couple of these popular options for DIY couples:
DIY Wedding Planning Made Easy™
WedEd’s signature program, DIY Wedding Planning Made Easy™, makes it easy to plan your own wedding without a coordinator. Follow a step-by-step roadmap to organize all your wedding details and day-of tasks like a pro!
The Master Plan from Jamie Wolfer
Get guided advice and a community of support with this course + membership from YouTube wedding planner Jamie Wolfer.
Budget-Savvy Wedding Planning
Join our community to get support from other brides going through the planning process!
5. Hire a Month of Wedding Planner
Working with a full-service wedding planner can be too much of an investment if you’re working on a tight budget, and we completely understand. However, choosing to work with a wedding planner as part of a month-of coordination contract is one of the best things you can do!
This type of service means a planner will become a point of contact for your wedding professionals during the final weeks leading up to your wedding. They will comb through all of the details, create your wedding day timeline, and run your actual wedding day like a coach of a team. While they’re at the helm, you will be able to actually enjoy and experience your wedding day (and your family and friends will too)! It’s a great way to have the best of both worlds.
Working with a full-service wedding planner might be a luxury, but there are still plenty of ways for you to savvily plan your celebration. If you respect your budget, use technology to your advantage, and lean into help toward the end, you can not only plan your wedding well but also enjoy the process along the way.
Are you planning your own wedding? What tools have you found most helpful? Chime in, in our community!